A few months ago, when the Dragonflight PTR 10.1 testing started, I submitted a bug report that was leaning more as a lore feedback than as a bug per se. Sadly, the feedback was ignored as this blunder made it into the Live version of 10.1.
A side questline that start at the Dragonscale Camp in Zaralek Cavern, features an enemy named Lead Researcher Sytorian. He has created experiments in the Acidbite Ravine (within the Sulfur Wastes) that created restless dead. During the quest: Restless Death, the orc shaman Earthmender Narvra asks you to place anchor totems in the area to allow her to start a cleansing ritual that might aid these restless dead to pass on toward the afterlife.
Lead Researcher Sytorian: What are you doing? You cannot undo my work! Azeroth must be ready for any threat the cosmos throws at us! My work was for the good of all! The things I did so you could sleep comfortably at night… I may have failed Neltharion in life once… But I will not fail him in death! Azeroth must be kept safe! You… you do not have the strength to do what must be done. To make the decisions that have to be made… to dirty your claws so that others may keep theirs clean!
Next, in the quest: Cataloging Horror, Voraxian gives us a hint at how long ago the Aberrus experiments might have been created…
Voraxian: Is this what my flight was even before they fell to the Old Gods?
Voraxian: Thank you. To know that this was occurring before my flight’s fall… sickens me to my core. I will take these photographs to our leaders. If we cannot learn from our history, we are doomed to repeat it.
It is not clear exactly when in the timeline Neltharion fell to the Old gods’ whispers or when he dealt the pact — but we know for certain it happened before the War of the Ancients — 10,000 years in the past. We saw the moment Neltharion apparently dealt a pact when he called to the whispers to empower himself in order to defeat Razsageth the Incarnate — as seen in Dragonflight: Legacies (Part 3).
Next, in the quest: Stain Removal, Lead Researcher Sytorian returns with further claims.
Lead Researcher Sytorian: I will not let you undo all my work! It wil save Azeroth!
Veritistrasz: Your work has saved nothing and no one. It is time to move on.
Lead Researcher Sytorian: Go back to your “life pools,” red! This is an obsidian matter and concerns you not.
Voraxian: Obsidian matter? There is no excuse for what you have done here!
Lead Researcher Sytorian: No… no… you just do not understand…
Earthmender Narvra: No! The ritual! Keep it together!
Lead Researcher Sytorian: But… I will make you understand. You will see. You will agree with me…
Earthmender Narvra: Nnn… Go, (Name). We will keep the ritual active. Go get them! Rupert, let’s give it everything we have!
Rupert: It would be my pleasure. Give that degenerate a good thrashing. (Name).
Lead Researcher Sytorian: You will understand! No! I must complete my research and save Azeroth!
Veritistrasz: Neltharion is dead. No one is coming for your research.
Lead Researcher Sytorian: No… it cannot have been for nothing… That would mean all those things I did…
Voraxian: In ten thousand years, Azeroth has been saved many times without your research. Go to whatever awaits you beyond.
Lead Researcher Sytorian: I am released? I am… afraid…
Vorixian: Let us be done with this place.
The lore blunder is not in what was said in the conversation, but rather on what you can see in the screenshots. Here is the dilemma.
Sytorian is a black dragon ghost. He makes his presence in the visage of a High Elf.
If these experiments took place more than 10,000 years ago, before even Neltharion and his dragonflight had been corrupted, how exactly does Sytorian know how a High Elf looks like… when High Elves came to existance many years later?
High Elves were formerely the Highborne Night Elves who got exiled from Mount Hyjal, shortly after Illidan used vials of water from the Well of Eternity upon the lake in Mount Hyjal.These Highborne Night Elves later traveled across the sea and landed in Tirisfal Glades. Some time later, they abandoned Tirisfal Glades because of the whispers that drove them mad. Then settled in what is now known as Quel’Danas and built a fountain of water. Dath’Remar Sunstrider poured in another vial of the Well of Eternity upon the pool and created the Sunwell.
It was the Arcane and Light magic of this Sunwell that transformed the Highborne Night elves into High Elves. But from what some lore sources say… this happened 3,000 years after the War of the Ancients. Or 7,000 years in the past.
Therefore, there is no way for Sytorian to know what a High Elf looks like to take their visage.
Is there something here we don’t know of? Did Sytorian visit Quel’Thalas at some point before dying in Zaralek Cavern? Doubtful, because the Dragonflight announcement cinematic clearly shows that Tyr’s people hid the Dragon Isles from the outside world in order to protect it from the Sundering.
Therefore, it is a terrible blunder by the Story Development team to show Sytorian in High Elf visage.
The visage that most makes sense for Sytorian to take is that of a Night Elf, or a Furbolg, or a Tauren. These are the races that helped the Night Elves fight the War of the Ancients to defeat the Burning Legion and the Highborne — as per Warcraft: War of the Ancients. Or even a Goblin or a Drogbar who helped Neltharion in ages past. Heck, even a Djaradin visage would have done the job.
Instead we have a High Elf visage that raises eyebrows to those of us who care about the Warcraft lore. It simply makes no sense time-wise.
An explanation for this, could be that Sytorian chose to take a visage similar to the one of the player. In my case, my Paladin is a Blood Elf. But does he take a Vulpera visage if your character is a Vulpera? Or a Zandalari Troll if your character is a Zandalari Troll? Sadly, I am right. I searched YouTube and have seen Sytorian with the same High Elf visage with a Orc player, and another video with a Iron Dwarf player. Therefore, I have to call it for what it is. A blunder that is inconsistent with the lore and with the timeline. High Elves did not exist 10,000 years ago. Only Night Elves.
But don’t take my word for it… just take a look as how Queen Azshara is depicted by World of Warcraft artists before The Sundering.